In a study in Obstetrics & Gynecology, researchers looked at the effect of psychosocial stressors on contraception in women with unintended pregnancies. Most of the stressors reviewed were independently linked to use of postpartum contraception. The notable exception was depression.
“The depression measure may not have been a good measure, or intimate partner violence and other stressors may confound the association between depression and contraceptive choice,” said principal investigator Julia Steinberg, PhD, an assistant professor of family science in the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Dr. Steinberg noted that roughly 37% of births in the United States are unintended and that 19% of US women conceive again within 12 months after delivery. A pregnancy conceived within 12 months after delivery is also more likely to be unintended than one conceived more than 12 months after delivery.
The large population-based survey study analyzed cross-sectional data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) to identify women who had an unintended birth between 2012 and 2015. Women between 2 and 8 months postpartum completed a survey about their behaviors before, during and after pregnancy.
The effectiveness level of the postpartum contraceptive method was divided into five categories: none; less effective (withdrawal, rhythm, condoms or other barrier); moderately effective (pill, patch, ring or shot); long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) (intrauterine devices or implants); and sterilization (female or male).
Dr. Steinberg reports no relevant financial disclosures.